GOWHAR GEELANI | 28 JULY, 2018

PDP Foundation Day: Mehbooba Mufti and Baig Stir A Hornets Nest

“Toxic opportunism” says Omar Abdullah


SRINAGAR: Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and Member Parliament Muzaffar Hussain Baig has stirred up a political hornets’ nest by warning New Delhi of yet another 1947-like Partition “if Muslims in India continue to be lynched and killed in the name of cow.”

Baig said this at Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir Park where workers, members and sympathisers of the PDP had gathered to observe the party’s 19th foundation day.

Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the two-term chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir and India’s former home minister, had founded the PDP on July 28, 1999. Baig was close to Sayeed and one of party’s senior leaders.

"Stop lynching Muslims in the name of the cow. India witnessed a partition in 1947. It (partition) can happen again if Muslims continue to be lynched and killed in the name of cow," said PDP’s senior leader Baig.

Within no time senior spokespersons of the ruling dispensation in New Delhi strongly condemned Baig’s statement, saying “those who wanted to create a nation in the name of Islam joined Pakistan. Pakistan is still there and those who have problems living in India are totally free to go to Pakistan.”

But Baig’s remark was not the only hullabaloo that was created on the PDP’s foundation day in Srinagar.

Even former chief minister and party president Mehbooba Mufti made some remarks which are bound to generate intense debate in Kashmir and in Delhi, and perhaps create more controversies.

Addressing over 15,00 party workers and sympathisers who had assembled in Srinagar, Mehbooba Mufti said that “Brother and sisters, today I want to tell you something that many would wonder what I am saying. I swear in the name of Allah (God) my politics would begin and end with my father (Mufti Sayeed). That’s the reason when he left this world I was not ready to form the government (with the BJP).”

Visibly upset, emotional and with moist eyes, Mehbooba Mufti further said that it took her three months to decide because she was reluctant to form the government and had never thought of becoming a chief minister.

“My only concern was my father’s agenda, that how to take people of Kashmir out from this (vortex of violence). Our party workers, MLAs and senior leaders were of the opinion that it was Mufti Sahab’s decision (to form the government with the BJP) and that you have to drink this cup of poison,” she said with teary eyes.

She said that the party leaders were of the view that “if you do not take charge it will be seen as disrespect to the earlier decision made by Mufti Sahab.”

Alluding to a battery of senior PDP leaders present on the dais Mehbooba Mufti further said that “they are all witnesses here, I told them you choose a leader yourself if you want to form a government. I am not worth it because my heart was broken. I followed my father in jungles and mountains to build the party at the grassroots level and when he was not there anymore, I had no desire that I will become a chief minister. My condition was very bad.”

Mufti’s emotional pitch is perceived as an attempt to salvage the party’s dented and battered image of the PDP.

When she was undecided for nearly three months, she said that there were many statements made in the Parliament and also by various (BJP) leaders in Delhi that they would abide by the agenda set by late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

“All these factors compelled me to do what I was perhaps not ready for on the emotional front,” she said in a broken voice, adding that “during those two-years-and-two-months only my God and my inner self know what I have gone through.”

Opposition National Conference ridiculed Mehbooba Mufti by accusing her of “toxic opportunism”.

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and MLA Beerwah Omar Abdullah said in a tweet that “She (Mehbooba) was a willing participant in their “partnership of crime”. If it was as poisonous as she now claims why did she not leave the alliance instead of waiting to be sacked? She was quite happy to poison the people of Kashmir with her toxic opportunism.”
 

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